Microbiomes are the collective and highly personal assortment of microorganisms that live in, on, and around us. If genetically modified effectively, these "black boxes" may help us cure cancer, understand how we can adapt to rising temperatures, play a role in mental health, and improve nutrition in children.
It's summer. Lakes and other waterways are warm ... and polluted with phosphorous and nitrogen. These conditions are ideal for overgrowth of blue-green algae. When this happens very potent toxins are released, potent enough to kill dogs. But people also take blue-green algae as a dietary supplement. What gives?
Lake Okeechobee, in South Florida, is being plagued by an enormous algae bloom. But what's causing the problem is not algae: it's a plant-like pathogen called cyanobacteria. Blooms from this type of bacteria are dangerous because they release a variety of deadly neurotoxins, which can kill humans and animals.